Call it an epiphany. Call it perspective. Call it whatever you want — Baron Davis got it this summer.
And come winter when the NBA starts up again, Davis says he is going to give it his all for the Clippers.
That would be nice, as they are paying him $12 million next season. But for similar money last year the Clippers got none of that — due to injury he suited up for only 65 games, and in many of those it was a shadow of a player the Clippers thought they were getting. Davis’ shooting percentage plummeted to 37%, his scoring was down 5 points per game. And for the most part he looked disinterested at best by a month into the season.
Davis was unhappy. Things were hard playing for the Clippers, so he mentally checked out.
Then this summer he went to India and it hit him that, “Hey, maybe I don’t have it so bad.” Seeing slums of India can provide perspective, especially for someone living in the bubble of the NBA.
"Humbling," he said. "Makes you appreciate life, makes you appreciate being in America, having the opportunities that you have. Makes you want to come back and work hard."
The Clippers have the chance to be pretty good this season, to dramatically improve on last season’s 19 wins. There is top overall pick Blake Griffin, who is built like a tank and can finish at the rim. Griffin had a lot of chemistry with Eric Gordon at the Summer League and that pain’s pick-and-roll is NBA ready today.
Al Thornton is improving. Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby should be healthy for a change and will give the Clippers some size and depth up front. Zach Randolph and his lack of defensive effort have gone out of town.
But it all hinges on Davis. He is the guy who can best create shots for himself and his teammates. He is the guy who can make good decisions with the ball — if Mike Dunleavy gets out of his way and lets the Clippers run. Davis is the guy who can hit the big shots and knows what it is like to make and win in the playoffs.
And if it took a trip to India for Davis to realize what he needed to do, then Donald Sterling should pay for the airfare. And maybe send Mark Madsen over there while he’s at it.